Just got back from a quick trip to Montreal, and Ottawa as it turned out.
I thought Montreal was great. I stayed in the Hotel le Residence on Sherbrooke Avenue, close to Saint Denis Street. It was $70/canadian a night and served it's purpose... the room was clean and had aircon.
The nightlife in Montreal in this area was great, a lot of pubs and bars that had a nice atmosphere. I was however stunned by the amount of homeless people in Montreal.. Everywhere I went the streets were packed with homeless people... Not that this is such a bad thing, for the most part that is how I got my directions around town.
I did, unfortunately, get attacked by a homeless guy in Montreal though.. It wouldn't stop me from going back, which I plan to do in a couple weeks, but I was just surprised, when it happened no one did anything to help or anything.. It's fine, fortunately I can take care of myself and nothing really came of this, but the best that I can tell this guy was just pissed that I didn't speak French... He said something to me in French.. I said I don't speak French and then he started pushing me and yelling at me in French. This happened to me on the corner of Saint Laurent and Renault Levesque.
Like I said though Montreal was great and maybe I was just wandering in the wrong part of town, but if you don't like dealing with that sort of stuff I would suggest taking Taxis around town if you are travelling in Montreal alone.
Ottawa was great too, the town is dotted with all sorts of interesting buildings to look at, I didn't get into the nightlife as much since I was actually staying in Montreal and just going to Ottawa during the day, but especially the area that locals were calling "Government Hill" where the parliament building was. I found a lot of good resteraunts in Ottawa as well.
One question for Canucks. I went to a resteraunt and ordered some food that I don't know the name of because the waiter guy said it was a popular Canadian food. It was some kind of bread, smothered with cheese and covered with some sort of sauce.. Do you guys know what I am talking about? I've got to try to find a resteraunt here in NYC that serves that stuff, but I don't know the name of it.
You totally stumped me about the food! I have no idea what it's called but I'm really curious if it's a popular Canadian food. I lived in the Ottawa area (just across the bridge in Hull actually) so perhaps the restaurant's name would help.
That's really weird that you had that type of experience in Montreal! It's upsetting for sure to know that people are like that in my own city (boo-urns to them) but I think it's best to know that the eastern part of Mtl is prominently french. I guess they can get a bit frustrated when people don't speak their language especially since it's such a sensitive issue here. But I'm glad it didn't faze you from returning! It has a lot to offer!
I believe the name of the place was "The Chuck Wagon" The name of it started with a P and the name sounded french to me... but just in the way it was said... Poltier.. thats not it, but something like that.
I understand (to a point) the whole French and Quebec succession thing, which is part of the reason I didn't take the whole thing on St. Laurent too badly... The guy didn't really have any way of knowing I was a Yank... sort of anyways.
All in all it was a great trip, I actually had come up to work out a few things with my Canadian citizenship as I am a dual US and Canuck citizen. I have to admit that government services in both Montreal and Ottawa were WAY more organized than what you find here in the USA. One guy even re-opened the passport office in Ottawa after I came late when I told him that I was up from NYC to try to take care of some things. You'd never find that here.
All in all, if things wind up not working out for my UK ancestry visa, I would give a lot of thought about moving to Montreal (after I work up my French a bit) next year when I look to leave NYC.
I would take an educated guess and say Poutine but that is made with French Fries, cheese and gravy (no bread) - could that be it?
I hope you come back soon and have some more pleasurable experiences (ie: not getting attacked by any homeless people....or anyone at all for that matter!)
Poutine, THATS IT!
I thought that was some sort of bread under all that cheese, but I guess it was fries. Now I have to find a place in NYC that has that. Do you know if that is a French dish? or is it uniquely Canadian? I've never come across a "Canadian" resteraunt before.. Either way though, I'll be back in Montreal in about 2 weeks it seems, which is good.... I'll be able to have Poutine again then for sure!
No prob Bob (or rather Ian, but that doesn't really rhyme with "prob"...)
It's a good ole Quebecois (or should I say French Canadian) dish! Hee hee, I actually found an article on it, lol, so if you're ever bored... http://www.canoe.ca/CNEWSLifeArchive/oct2_poutine.html
I'm not sure if you'd find it in the US of A (not easily anyways), but I remember seeing a restaurant in France that had it and my travel buddies and I found that kinda funny.
Gonna be back in two weeks, huh? Coming up for the Jazz Fest?
Jazz Fest? sounds like a good time, I actually didn't even know about it though. Just like last time I was up during the Grand Prix and didn't even know about it until a bartender asked me if I was in town for it.... It was nice though, after that I made sure to watch it the next day... Even on TV it was great, you don't get F1 racing in the US very often. Go Minardi
Both trips have actually been to take care of some things regarding the fact that I am a dual (US and Canuck) citizen. I was up before to get a social insurance number, and apply for a passport... next trip up I will need to apply for my birth cert (long form)... and look into getting a Canadian driver's license... although I don't know the rules about having a US and a Canadian driver's license simultaneously...
The end result being that I hope to move to the UK next year under an Ancestry Visa filed through Canada, but if that doesn't work out, or when I return from the UK.. I plan to pursue my Canadian citizenship moreso than my US citizenship, so I am trying to set myself up so I could move to Toronto, Halifax, or Montreal (those are my current choices) seamlessly from the states.
So there you have it... a really long answer to your short question.
I'd say Montreal is the best bet! But I'm biased! But in all honesty, I've heard Halifax is pretty cool. I know of many people who have been, and they were all pleasantly surprised at the sophistication of the city.
Yes, like I said I really liked Montreal... misadventures and all.. My only issue is it seems like it could be hard to work around there speaking no French at all
I need to work on that obviously no matter where in Canada I go, but especially I should be able to speak French if I move to "French Canadia"
heh, I'm just bad with languages I think.. I've learned a fair bit of Spanish and forgot it again 2 weeks after coming home from central america.
I like Toronto as well and I still need to see Halifax more closely, I've been there briefly between ferry rides when I used to live in Maine, but never really got to look around. The thing with Toronto is I was born in London (Ontario), so that would put me close to my "roots" in a way I suppose.
Still trying to figure out though what's gonna be best... I think if I could actually become fluent in any other language it would be ideal.. especially wanting to move over into Europe and all.. but we'll see how things go.
If it makes you feel any better, I've lived here all my life, my French is lacking and I still get along fine! I'm bad with languages as well. My mom gave up on teaching me Polish when I was five and my dad still doesn't understand how I can't remember the Greek he taught me when I was two As for Spanish, as long as you know the key phrases like "Cervasa, por favor" I think you'll be ok! But seriously, French is not too hard to pick up, and as long as whoever you're dealing with sees that you're trying really hard to speak it, they'll help you or convert to English. It's rare that you'll find someone like the "friend" you met on the street that really hates anglos. In downtown and west Montreal, we run the joint, lol.
About the Jazz fest, you'll love it! Even if you don't listen to jazz music or know it well, it's just so great to sit in front of Place des Arts in the beautiful sun and take in the atmosphere! lol, now I'm getting excited for it!
PS: Minardi huh? I'm a Williams-BMW girl myself Hopefully if Villeneuve comes back, he'll go back to the Williams team!